Capital Area Materials Measurement Laboratory

Materials Measurement Laboratory

The Materials Measurement Laboratory, an analytical chemistry lab located in Alexandria, VA, supports a wide variety of CBRNE RDT&E efforts, including the analysis of species in crude matrices and the development of simple, field-portable methods and instrumentation. The laboratory focuses on point detection and analyte extraction using novel microfluidic techniques based on electrophoretic principles.

The 1,250 square-foot laboratory consists of synthetic and analytical laboratory space. Current equipment includes custom analytical instrumentation:

  • Gradient elution moving boundary electrophoresis (GEMBE) for the separation and detection of charged species in dirty samples. GEMBE uses simple instrumentation for sensitive, rapid, and reproducible results.
  • Gradient elution isotachophoresis (GEITP) for the preconcentration and detection of any charged molecules (including DNA) in dirty matrices. GEITP is simple, reliable, and fast—extractions occur within five minutes.

Key capabilities include:

ARA’s MML staff capabilities include analytical method development and device fabrication, analytical chemistry (electrophoresis and chromatography-based separations, mass spectrometry, spectroscopy—including standoff detection), mechanical engineering, forensic analysis, tagging/tracking/locating, and basic organic synthesis and purification.


Alyssa Henry and David Ross, “Gradient Elution Moving Boundary Electrophoresis for Use with Complex Samples and Detection of Toxins,” non-provisional patent application filed with USPTO accepted October 5, 2015.

Alyssa Henry, Chris Konek, Elizabeth Strychalski, and David Ross, “Gradient Elution Isotachophoretic Apparatus for Separating, Purifying, Concentrating, Quantifying, and/or Extracting Charged Analytes and Methods Thereof,” provisional application for United States Letters Patent, filed June 22, 2015.

Strychalski, E.A., Konek, C., Butts, E.L.R., Vallone, P.M., Henry, A.C., Ross, D., DNA Purification From Crude Samples for Human Identification Using Gradient Elution Isotachophoresis, Electrophoresis 2013, 34, 2522-2530.

Strychalski, E.; Henry, A.C.; Ross, D. “Expanding the Capabilities of Microfluidic Gradient Elution Moving Boundary Electrophoresis for Complex Samples,” Analytical Chemistry, 2011, 83, 6316-6322.

Strychalski, E.; Henry, A.C.; Ross, D. “Microfluidic Analysis of Complex Samples with Minimal Sample Preparation using Gradient Elution Moving Boundary Electrophoresis,” Analytical Chemistry, 2009, 81 (24), 10201-10207.